RECORD OF MEETING
BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN ISSUES TASK FORCE
DATE/TIME/PLACE: July 28, 1993, 2:00-4:00 PM, CDTC Offices
IN ATTENDANCE: Brad Birge (CDRPC), Tom Nattell (Albany Peace and Energy Council), Don Odell (Albany County Planning), Jeff Olson (NYSDOT Central Office Planning), Don Robertson (NYSDOT - Region 1 Planning), Bert Schou (CDTA), Maggie Vinciguerra (Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council), Steve Allocco (CDTC)
Committee Membership: To get additional inputs from the cycling community, CDTC staff will continue attempts to get the New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC) and the Mohawk-Hudson Wheelmen (MHW) represented on the Task Force. Task Force members also suggested soliciting the participation of county highway officials (to gain insights on the construction and maintenance issues surrounding development of bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure) and local college administrators (for information on student travel behavior and needs), as well as Environmental Planning Lobby (EPL) and NYPIRG staff. In addition, it was suggested that public health, environmental, energy and public works officials be contacted to get information on the health, safety and environmental benefits of switching to non-motor vehicle travel. (SEE "ACTION ITEMS" BELOW)
Task Force Operations and Mission: Clarification of the different missions of this Task Force and CDTC's current Bikeway/Pedestrian Planning Study was requested. The key distinction lies in the Task Force's longer-term focus on framing a future environment and identifying the policy and programmatic requirements for non-motor vehicle travel to play a greater role in the Capital District's transportation system, while the Bikeway/Pedestrian Planning Study is focussing on current, "nuts-and-bolts" problems of cycling/walking "trouble spots" and developing a master plan with a map of desirable non-motor vehicle transportation links. The Task Force effort will benefit the Bikeway/Pedestrian Planning Study by sketching out a future environment to "proactively improve," as well as in developing a framework for achieving meaningful changes in the non-motor vehicle travel system. It is possible that the Master Plan for Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations will reflect a philosophical "flow" from the findings of the Task Force.
Selection of a Chairperson was deferred to the next meeting.
Early Exploration of Issues and Options: A large portion of the meeting was spent in free-form discussion of concerns. This provided an opportunity for members to make any opening statements regarding their own "pet" issues. In the course of this exercise, which paralleled brainstorming in that the emphasis was on stating problems rather than truly discussing them, a number of important current issues came out, along with one or two likely goals to be set forth in the early products of the committee's work. While preliminary, much of the concepts offered were also possible actions to be pursued in the future. The attached page lists the keywords/phrases which came out in the order they occurred; prior to the next meeting, the list will be "regrouped" to isolate general themes or issue areas which may evolve with continued discussion.
The Task Force set forth one goal likely to be a theme of its reports: that ALL DESTINATIONS SHOULD BE ACCESSIBLE via bicycles and/or pedestrian travel. Some of the other keywords on the attached page suggest that in order to do this, existing transportation infrastructure will need to be "retrofitted" with elements such as bike racks on buses and pedestrian "safe zones" (such as median islands on wide streets). This goal, as well as the related keyword BARRIERS could be starting points for discussions or the themes for entire meetings.
Data Needs: Group members indicated that they will need objective data on projected Year 2015 travel conditions in order to present a "backdrop" for initial listings of issues, goals and alternative actions in the December paper. To better flesh out the "pet issues," group members suggested preparation by each other of short papers listing concerns and opportunities to be considered at the next meeting.
Meeting/Logistical Issues: While centrally located for single-occupant motor vehicle travel, it was noted that transit coverage and cyclist safety is poor in the vicinity of the CDTC offices. Furthermore, as Wolf Road is a large employment and shopping area, getting to meetings can be difficult. It was decided that downtown sites, such as the Albany Public Library, would be readily accessible to Task Force members. An additional advantage of the downtown location is that more members work in downtown Albany than anywhere else in the Capital District.
* NYS Thruway Authority staff involved with NYSTA Canal System work invited to participate in Task Force.
* Followup letters soliciting involvement of NYBC, MHW to be sent out, along with letters requesting participation of county highway officials, local college administrators, EPL and NYPIRG.
* Members to prepare background papers for distribution at next meeting.
* CDTC staff to prepare documentation of Year 2015 transportation conditions and investigations of potential for conversion of peak period travel to non-motor vehicle modes.
* CDTC staff to "restructure" listing of keywords/phrases (attached) to point out general themes evolving in free-form discussions. Next meeting will use newsprint pads more aggressively in effort to channel thinking towards development of December report.
* Next meeting: Wednesday, August 25, 1993, 5:30-7:30 PM. Preliminary meeting location: Albany County Office Building, 112 State Street. Additional possible locations, including meeting rooms at Capitol and Empire State Plaza Concourse will be explored.
* Agenda to include: Some further brainstorming; discussion of future travel conditions; discussion of future concerns/issues; development of listing of key issues and goals. Early framing of action strategies possible.
Keywords/Phrases/Issues Presented in Order of Occurrence
(NOTE: information in parentheses is an attempt to "flesh out" the meaning of the keyword/phrase)
incomplete systems (ex: racks @ Emp State Plaza but no legal, safe way to get to them)
county policies (road/trail construction/maintenance)
pedestrian "safe zones" (ex: median islands)
use NYS to set the tone? (support of visible State agencies can make an idea more attractive)
Cap Dist/NYS have no organized, strong bike/ped advocacy voice
latent demand for bike/ped travel does exist (needs proper accommodation to make safer/more comfortable)
tourism potential as rationale to invest in accommodations
examples exist to show that you can get agency cooperation to push bike/ped
GOAL: ALL DESTINATIONS SHOULD BE ACCESSIBLE ("mobility" goal revisited)
institute specific review of proposals for possible bike/ped elements in TIP process?
improve interconnection at bus stops
bike racks on buses?
how to increase local input (desires) and information (info regional bike/ped people can use)?
prepare a regional bike/ped map -- implications for local planning (if "carved in stone" on map w/tourism, funding implications, locals may pay more attention to what's represented in their areas)
bike/ped facility guidelines
capitalize on barge canal
greenway @ confluence of 2 river corridors
regionalism versus provincial tendencies
bike/ped spending parity with transit (journey-to-work shares are comparable, but no real $ spent on bike/ped)
greenway trail program
strong bike interest in Hudson River Valley
TO: Bicycle and Pedestrian Issues Task Force Members
FROM: Stephen A. Allocco
DATE: July 30, 1993
RE: July 28 Meeting Summary Material
Details on Next Meeting
Enclosed please find a summary of what was brought to light during the July 28 meeting. As is particularly evident from the keyword/phrase listing, we covered quite a bit of ground in suggesting issues to consider; future meetings will supplement this list to some degree, but emphasize more focused thinking to develop specific "issues requiring treatment" and alternative actions to address these issues.
Per a suggestion by Jeff Olson, yesterday I discussed the Task Force's work with John DiMura of the Thruway Authority, inviting him to participate. Given the Authority's work with the Canal System, coordinating our work with theirs will be important; John was receptive to this idea.
A reminder: the next meeting will be Wednesday, August 25, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Our original plan to meet at the Albany Public Library was scuttled, as they had no rooms available for that time. We have other downtown options -- Don Odell is checking into room availability at the Albany County Office Building (112 State Street), and there are also meeting rooms available at the Capitol and in the Concourse of the Empire State Plaza. I will call or send out a notice of the meeting site when it is confirmed.
I'll be on vacation from later today through August 9th; when I'm back in town, I'll put together the Year 2015 travel conditions information and try to restructure the "keywords" listing to isolate themes to further focus our future work. I'll also get "invitation to participate" packets out to the county highway officials, college administrators, EPL and NYPIRG. In the meantime, if you happen to encounter any of these people and wish to make the invitations yourselves, please do so.
I look forward to seeing you on the 25th.